Is the Durabook Z14I Laptop Really Durable?

Oct. 9, 2020
"Everything is what it is... and it's also a hammer." That's apparently the philosophy of the gentleman who field tested this laptop.

Every now and then we’ll get a request to review a product, or to “test and evaluate” a product where we have to give the manufacturer a warning up front: if they say it will do something, it had better do it. If they say it will take X amount of abuse or treatment and still function, it had better because we’re going to do exactly that, and maybe repeatedly. Enter the Durabook Z14I laptop. 

I took it out to my driveway and...dropped it 26 times.

As with many of the items we get for test and evaluation, we’ll report on the testing we did, how the item held up to the testing and whether or not, at the end of the testing, the item still functioned as it did prior to the testing. Look, I am a bear for abusive testing and have been quoted many times as saying, “In law enforcement, as in the military, everything is what it is… and it’s a hammer.”

After receiving the Durabook Z14I Laptop test unit, I tested it with no abuse testing first. While I’m not the best at “techno speak,” the Z14I uses an Intel 8th generation CPU featuring an UHD 620 graphics processor. The graphics processor supports the FullHD 1080p widescreen display and if you’ve ever looked at a suspect’s picture in lo-res vs. 1080p you know exactly what the value of such high quality graphics are. It is also equipped with dual band wireless AC 9260 and Bluetooth V5.0 connectivity. Between the two, the ability to move data back and forth with any communications center or reports repository is excellent.

The touchscreen has four touch modes to include glove, stylus, water, and finger. Yes, that says water. The Durabook Z14I is “optimized for applications of both indoor and outdoor usage.” (More on the water part in a bit.) As it was delivered the unit ran Windows 10 and the touch mode was set to finger. The battery was fully charged and all of the usual Windows functions were enabled. The “normal condition” test included writing several articles on it, letting it ride around in the trunk of a car for a couple weeks (with groceries and range gear going in and out on top of it) and watching Netflix (just to enjoy the graphics, we assure you).

After all of the “normal condition” testing, it was time for the abuse. With eight years of military service and over 30 of law enforcement experience, I tend to have the outlook that any issued equipment should take any abuse given it. After all, you never know what a piece of gear is going to have to take on the street.

Before starting, I checked into what the manufacturer said it would put up with. The Durabook Z14I is IP 65 certified against dust and water intrusion. It is also certified for the MIL-STD-810G which would mean it would still function after 26 six-foot drops. The MIL-STD rating also meant that it would be resistant to vibration, rain, dust, altitude, freeze/thaw, high/low temperature limits, temperature shock, humidity, explosive atmosphere (really sudden change in air density), solar radiation (how do we test that?), salt fog (good thing I live near a large salt body of water) and fungus resistance. It is also MIL-STD-461G certified. This is an electromagnetic resistance certification—something that left untested by choice.

If MIL-STD certifications aren’t your thing, it’s also certified to ANSI C1D2 12.12.01 for hazardous environments. Do some Google searches and you can learn all kinds of neat stuff this laptop is certified to put up with—and still work.

Rugged testing

I took it out to my driveway and measured six feet off the ground and, you guessed it, dropped it 26 times. Now the test protocol says “26 faces” so it’s supposed to be dropped in different positions and at different angles so the unit impacts on different faces of the exterior. I did my best to do that but ultimately the unit ended up being dropped a lot on the various corners, the bottom (battery weight) and the back. I was careful to turn it on and let it boot up and make sure everything worked just as it did before I started dropping it all those times. It did. Without fail.

Interestingly enough, the IP 65 rating also meant that the unit should tolerate, without failure, exposure to water, or more specifically “Water projected by a nozzle against any enclosure from any direction should have no harmful effects.” With great delight, I tested the unit against water exposure and was impressed to find that it still functioned well even after spraying every exterior surface for approximately one minute.

The test protocol actually states the amount of water volume, flow, etc. for the testing purposes, but not many deputies or police officers perform such careful tests. They just do what I did: spray it. It still worked.

Satisfied that I couldn’t break the unit without doing something to it that it wasn’t made to take, I stood down. The average patrol laptop won’t take as much abuse in its service life as I put this test unit through in roughly three days. I must admit that I was kind of disappointed when I had to pack it up to ship it back.  

Editor’s Note: For more information on the Durabook Z14I, visit

About the Author

Lt. Frank Borelli (ret), Editorial Director | Editorial Director

Lt. Frank Borelli is the Editorial Director for the Officer Media Group. Frank brings 20+ years of writing and editing experience in addition to 40 years of law enforcement operations, administration and training experience to the team.

Frank has had numerous books published which are available on,, and other major retail outlets.

If you have any comments or questions, you can contact him via email at [email protected].

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